In the middle of a long footnote about Kraus’ despisal of the moneyed writers—his Jewish brethren and others—who didn’t use their freedom from having to sell as a reason to risk take, Franzen goes off on a tangent about the socioeconomics of the present fiction scene and the internet and book reviews in modern life—it touches on too many points to cover here, but at the end he hits upon something that is relevant to the need for musicians to be on social media now and how that might not be a good thing. As I’ve always said I’m glad Robert Plant wasn’t able to facebook on tour in 78 because it would have ruined the myth, but to Franzen’s point:
“I might add that the tyranny of niceness in comtemporary fiction, is enforced by terror of the Internet and its ninth- grade social dynamics. Writer’s afraid of running afoul of of the bloggers and the tweeters, of becoming universally “known” as not a nice person, can defend themselves with laudable sentiments; literacy and self-expression are good, bigotry is bad, working people are the salt of the earth, love is more important than money, technology is fun, gentrification is a serious problem, animals have feelings , children are less corrupt than adults, and so on. To attempt a harsh critique of the electronic system that reduces writers to these bromides is to risk having it become common “knowledge” that you’re a hater, a loner, not one of us.
Jonathan Franzen, The Kraus Project
Franzen is an enemy of twitter and I’m going to tweet this out later so I’m not against social media but his point and the whole book contain themes that shouldn’t be ignored in the current music climate. Mainly, that a lot of people believe a renaissance of various musics will happen just because it’s time. Lester Bangs pushed the needle forward between Iggy and punk itself and without critics talking about what they want to see that they don’t see—c.f. Gina Arnold and her new 33 1/2 book—music might just continue to be the cheapest thing shard on the interwebs.